Thursday, November 2, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Prince Izzy's Favorite

8"x10" acrylic Price $180
Izzy is my grandson.  He, his siblings and his mom took me to the Portland, OR, Museum of Fine Art for my birthday this past summer.  I asked each of the kids to show me their favorite pieces of art and Prince Izzy chose this modern art painting. This is titled, "The Prince Patutszky - Red" and was painted by Jules Olitski in 1962.  Prince Patutszky was a nickname his father gave him when he was young.  He was born in the Ukraine and named Jevel Demikovski.  As a child, his mother and grandmother immigrated with him to the US after his father was executed by the Soviet government. After his mother remarried he changed his name. He ended up getting his masters in art from NY University and later taught at Bennington College, here in Vermont.  He was well received and renowned during his lifetime, working with large areas of color.  This painting, like others he did in the early 60's, included orbs of color using stains and thinned acrylic.  He did a whole series of Prince Patustszky paintings. Some of them were sprayed with thin areas of color creating an ethereal look.  They were about color and nothing else. Throughout his career he was interested in ways of laying paint, ink or stains on canvas as well as presenting unusual combinations of color fields. We are living in an amazing age, where much of what interests me is, figuratively speaking,  floating in cyberspace.  Go Google! Go Figure!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - The Small Things

Today I was listening to an interview on NPR with Jacqueline Woodson about her book "Brown Girl Dreaming."  She sounded like a grounded soul who gave thoughtful and authentic answers to the interviewer's questions.  After talking about her book tracing her family ancestry, and the difficult history our country has with race relationships, the interviewer referenced another author who was writing about similar things with an angry and frustrated voice.  He asked her about how she felt about that and she answered that she couldn't live with a pessimistic view of the world.  She said that the America that makes her cry is also the America she dearly loves.  It kind of implies that we all have a bit of a dysfunctional relationship with our country.  She said she looked at the little things that gave her joy and love for humanity and let those things give her hope.  Later today I read this quote published in Sara Genn's newsletter, The Painter's Keys. It said, "If you stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable." (Rainer Maria Rilke)  I think they are talking about the same thing.  It is  a bit like asking yourself how much real estate you are willing to give to negative ideas and thoughts and how much you assign to finding uplifting things.  I am always looking for happy real estate in joyful neighborhoods filled with nature's opportunities to find little things.  Go Figure!

Figuratively Speaking - Red Barn

8"x8" oil $160
Aren't we lucky that we get to do revisions?  It takes a lot of failure to get to success but the good news is that it just takes some tweaking to get it right.  I am not sure what I am talking about, but it does apply to painting.  I have been studying Vermeer and his method of layering glazes to get it just right...not everywhere, but where it counts, has inspired me.  I am usually in a hurry but I realize I need to slow down and pay attention to what details are needed to make it glow or sing or just be sweeter.  I think it applies to a lot of other things though. Like cooking for instance.  My friend Heather is a talented chef.  I can make a decent, and healthy meal, but she pays attention to every detail in layering and flavors and textures and presentation.  Going to a dinner party at her house is a special treat.  It applies to exercise.  Theresa is a beautiful woman who hikes and does Tai Chi and swims and does yoga, but she doesn't stay in shape for the sake of exercise.  She does those things because they keep her way of thinking healthy.  Shinrin Yoku is Japanese for "forest bathing."  It is a method of breathing in the energy and peace of the woods.  Theresa does that moment to moment in her everyday life.  It applies to relationships as well.  I was going to try and stretch this analogy a little further, but I guess I really don't know what I am talking about.  I need to give this one a little more time and let the literary glazes slowly build up.  Go Figure!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Matisse Bouquet

8"x8" oil Price $160
I finished a book about Matisse right before I did this painting.  It struck me how much I had been influenced from reading about how he painted and looking at reproductions of his work.  That in term got me to thinking about influences in general and how I wanted to make sure I was being influenced by people and things that are going to enhance my journey in life and art.  Later I was listening to Antrese Wood's podcast with Frank Lombardo.  It turns out that he is the one I want to be influenced by in my artwork.  That was a real revelation because I know I have been inching towards this for a long time.  I of course dug deeper and started reading his blog, which is very out of date by the way, but the information he posted last year is timeless.  The one I read was about artists and their daily routines which of course made me look at mine.  He referenced a book Daily Rituals:How Artists Work by Mason Currey. So here are my "rituals."  I get up between 7-7:30 or earlier, depending on how I slept.  I do some stuff around the house and then go to the gym where I workout, swim and socialize and get home around 11am.  I fix a concoction, you could call a "smoothie," but it is very healthy, not very pretty.  I check my emails or read while I drink it, or do more household stuff.  Then I go to the studio and work and usually stay there until around 4:30-5, but sometimes later depending on how in to it I am or if I have a deadline.  I also try to get a walk in the woods in there somewhere too.  I can't really call myself a full-time painter, because I usually just paint in the afternoon, but I am a full time artist because I spend the evenings hanging out with my husband (who has a job) and doing art business or reading (about art) or preparing things for another painting.  Sometimes we go out to a concert or I meet with some other artists or go to life drawing, or teach, but you get the picture.  My weekends are scheduled differently, and are more flexible, but they have a rhythm as well.  So back to Lombardo.  He quoted William James with the phrase, “effortless custody of automatism.” He was referring to routine giving freedom not to have to think about daily details.  He also mentioned the supposition that Edison had numerous versions of the same suit so he didn't have to think about what he was wearing.  I am so like that.  I have always wanted a uniform, and kind of have that in a way.  I love necklaces and use them for my aristic fashion statement, but black leggings and a black tunic works for me in about every situation.  Anyway, I am really happy with my Matisse-like painting.  I deliberately went back in and added more detail just to make it mine.  I don't want to a copy-cat, just slightly influenced.  Go Figure!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Serena in Gold Shawl

12"x16" oil Price $480
I am tall.  When I was young and healthy and relatively cute, some people would say to me, "you should be a model."  No one ever said, "You should be a jockey.  You should be a gymnast.  or You should be a airline stewardess."  I am so glad I didn't attempt to be a model.  I am sure I would not be where I am today if I had and I really like where I am at today.  No one ever told me I should be a doctor or lawyer or dentist or airplane pilot either.  Honestly, all I ever really wanted to be was an artist.  I wish I had been mature enough and believed in myself enough to have pushed to go to art school and to have been driven enough to succeed.  Problem is, I wasn't.  So if I had gone, I probably would have blown it.  I needed to go through all the trials and made all those stupid mistakes to have learned how to appreciate the opportunities I was given.  I definitely learned from the school of hard knocks.  I wasted a lot of wonderful opportunities and got derailed by my bad choices, but somehow it all worked out. I learned to work hard and be frugal as a young adult by living on "The Farm," an alternative farming community. Later I became a teacher so that, as a single mom, I could see my kids during the day.  Being a teacher was certainly an opportunity to fly by the seat of my pants, but I did learn to be disciplined and efficient.  I learned to identify the objective and find different ways of communicating it.  I ended up being a fairly decent teacher and I learned to love much about the job. Honestly my chance to be an artist came when I married a very stable, honest, man with integrity who played by the rules and had a good  and stable job (pretty much the opposite of me).  It also really helped my parenting.  So when anyone asks me how long it takes to do a painting, I can answer them honestly and say it took a lifetime.  Go Figure!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Figuratively Speaking- The Fair

8"x10" watercolor Price $50
I saw him at the Tunbridge World's Fair.  That sounds like the beginning to a Country Western song.  I hated country music when I was a young teen.  We made fun of it for being whiny and brokenhearted.  That was before my heart was ever really broken.  Somewhere along the line I started to like it. Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Charlie Daniels, Emmy Lou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, even Dolly Parton snuck into my heart.  Dolly Parton is so much not my thing,  her big hair, big makeup, big....figure, her marketing, her presentation, but gee, she is just so lovable and funny and has great musicality, and is adorably self depreciating.  Tomorrow night we are going to see the Glenn Miller Band with about 15 of our friends. (I realize this has nothing to do with Country) Several people I asked to come with us flat out hated big band music.  I love it.  It makes me want to sing and dance. My sister and I used to dance in the living room to our parents' records including Glenn Miller.  Actually that is when I fell in love with Patsy Cline. Clearly I am all over the place in my likes when it comes to music.  I love classical, some show tunes, jazz, folk, gospel, newgrass, motown, rag, blues, and I like to watch opera, but not so much just listen to it, and I am, of course, a child of rock.  Heck, I even like Dean Martin.  Maybe I am musically clueless or just confused, but music just wiggles into your soul and makes life so much richer.  Patty Casey wrote a love song to her dog who was dying.  Every time I listen to it, I cry.  Really, every time.  Some of the words are: "you taught me how to howl, and how to live with just one bowl."  I love that.  Howling is a bit like singing or reading poetry, or painting (to music)....I think I will go do that now....Go Figure!   

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Church Planes

8"x8" watercolor Price $50
I think I am an easily influenced person.  That could be really bad, but on the other hand, depending on who or what is doing the influencing, it can be a good thing.  I NEVER (yes I yelled that) let comments on Facebook influence me to have opinions or get angry!  Recently I read a book about Matisse.  I don't think I ever really got what he did until I read that book.  The next painting I did showed that influence.  It wasn't as if it looked like a Matisse, I just approached it directly, simplifying the forms and doing broad areas of color, at least in the first swipe.  It was so fun to do even if it isn't a masterpiece.  The one shown here was just a little watercolor I did at the Tunbridge World's Fair.  What caught my eye was the planes of the church and the way the sun hit in one spot.  Sometimes when I have some insight and see how I am being influenced, I can throw it off if I don't like what I see, or I can embrace it and see how it becomes part of who I am.  In a short chit chat with amazing artist, Peter Huntoon today, we talked about how to identify the things we needed to grow in our painting.  He added that it wasn't a broad, open ended growth, but growing to be more truthful, more authentic in what we say.  He was referring to what we say in our art, but it applies to what we say in general I think.   I am going to let that influence me.  I think I might have influenced him too.  He seemed in a better mood at the end of the conversation....Go Figure!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

8"x10" watercolor price $50
Yellow and Purple don't really suit me I think.  This portrait has a very vague resemblance to me, like it could be an unknown sister or fraternal twin.  I did it as a study in complementary colors.  That means that they combine to enhance the qualities of each other (thank you Webster).  They also combine to create interesting neutrals.  Originally I only used those 2 colors and white, but later I added a touch of red to the skin tones.  On the other hand, complimentary (with an "i" not an "e") refers to praise or giving something free of charge.  I know people who are very complimentary, but not very authentic.  I know people who give free of charge, like advice or their opinion, or even criticism, and it just isn't nice or helpful.  So, instead of being a complimentary person, I think I will stick with complementary and enhance the qualities of another.  Next time I do a complementary selfie though, I will try it with Christmas colors, green and red, or maybe orange and blue...to see which pair complements me the most!  Go Figure!
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